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The Mind's Eye 


Number 5 


The Mind's Eye is a journal of review and comment 
published monthly during the college year 
at North Adams, Massachusetts 01 247 

April 1978 


W. Anthony Gengarelly 
Stephen A Green 
R. Michael Haines 
Charles A. Mclsaac 
Thomas A- Mulkeen 


Charles A. Mclsaac 

W. Anthony Gengarelly 

Ellen Schiff 


Nazi march on Hitler's birthday, 
an overt insult to Skokie's Jews, is 
protected by the American Bill of Rights. 

The malevolence of Nazism is carved 
in the stone of history. No one need ask 
himself what the Nazis have in mind. There 
should be no march in Skokie. 

Thomas A. Mulkeen 

Historical background of the baffling, 
bloody confrontation in Ulster. 
First of two articles. 


Prophetic judgment. 



The Editor's File 
The Hitlerian mystique lives on 
to bedevil us. 


The Mind' s Eye welcomes contributions. Your research, comment, 
reflections, reviews, letters, poetry, fiction are invited. 


The Editor's File 

by Charles A. Mclsaac 

On April 20, 1978, Adolf Hitler would have 
been 89 years old. He died thirty-three 
years ago by his own hand at the age of 57 
after wreaking in his short lifetime the 
greatest and most mysterious havoc of any 
man in the history of the world. He led a 
great nation into murderous lunacy, 
precipitating a world war which took the 
lives of a generation of young men on both 
sides of the conflict and whose total 
human cost has been calculated in the 
order of 55 million dead. Through the 
operations of his infamous secret police, 
the Gestapo, and the more secret, elite 
SS, and the death camps which are his most 
obscene monument, he exterminated an 
unknown number of real and supposed 
opponents of his regime. The number of 
dead exceeded 12 million, six million of 
whom were Jews — two-thirds of European 
Jewry — killed in the atrocious Final 
Solution, the culmination of Hitler's 
lifelong anti-Semitism. The attempt 
totally to eradicate a portion of the 
human race was a crime of unexampled 
historical proportions. It was the first 
time in modern history that genocide was 
made thinkable. 

Hitler was an unmatched paradigm of evil. 
In the wave of relief which swept over the 
world at the end of the war, there was a 
delusionary moment of comfort in believing 
that with his defeat and death we were 
done with the evil that lurks in mankind 
and manifests itself continually at every 
level of society, from familial murder to 
police brutality to official imprisonment 
and torture of political dissidents and to 
that ultimate insult to humanity, war 
between nations. But the lesson is 
otherwise: three decades of tumult among 
peoples and of the menacing buildup of 
end-of- the-world armaments by the great 
powers demonstrate that we have learned 
little. Nor has it yet sunk into our 
consciousness that our national honor was 
permanently tarnished by our degrading 
Vietnamese experience. 

Thus it is not curious that the Hitlerian 
mystique has perdured. Evil ranges over 
the world as it will , defying our good 
intentions. On April 20, under cover of 
the well-intentioned American Bill of 
Rights, members of the. American Nazi Party 
will march for Hitler's birthday in 
Skokie, Illinois, a city on the northern 
edge of Chicago heavily populated by 
Jews — many of them survivors of Hitler's 
death camps — in a demonstration of unre- 
constructed anti-Semitism staged in the 
presence of Semites. The city of Skokie 
has tried to avert this unseemly event by 
the application of ordinances forbidding 
the demonstration. The Nazis went to 
court, represented by the American Civil 
Liberties Union, and won the right to 
march on the grounds that the First 
Amendment sanctions their free expression 
of opinion. 

This issue of the Mind ' s Eye is devoted in 
considerable part to analyses of this 
agonized question. Anthony Gengarelly, 
who took his life in his hands in the 
dangerous struggle for black civil 
liberties in Mississippi in the mid-1960s, 
dispassionately presents the case for 
First Amendment free speech guarantees, 
despite his utter revulsion from Nazism. 
Ellen Schiff cogently argues that the 
march should be stopped because there is 
no historical or ethical question about 
the character of Nazism: it is pure and 
simple evil and, by its deeds, has proved 
itself to be a death-dealing threat to 
civilized society. 

For his own part, the editor wishes the 
Nazis could be waved out of existence; to 
borrow a phrase, Nazis seem not to have 
any redeeming social value. Would it were 
that simple. Were we to try to outlaw 
them, would it not be the moral equivalent 
of extermination? Extermination does not 
work. Hitler failed at it. To our ever- 
lasting discredit, we tried something of 
the sort with the Vietnamese. We lost. 


by W. Anthony Gengarelly 

On a balmy October day in 1963 I stood on 
a corner in Greenville, Mississippi, 
distributing fliers which announced a 
voter registration rally for black 
citizens to be held that evening. The 
street was full with a homecoming parade, 
which featured segregated bands and 
floats, blatant reminders of a centuries- 
old caste society. Clearly I did not fit 
the prevailing mood. Black people took 
my leaflets grudgingly, quickly folded 
and put them out of sight, then continued 
watching the parade. With some degree of 
difficulty I tried to ignore the angry 
white faces around me. I can not recall, 
much to my good fortune, having ever been, 
before or since that time, so uneasy 
and fearful. The hostile looks came from 
people conditioned by fear and hatred of 
anything or anyone that dared challenge 
the intolerant premises of a segregated 
system of racial inequality. I was 
perceived as a disrupter, a disturber of 
the peace, and a threat to the good order 
of that quiet southern town. 

Many who opposed the work of civil rights 
organizations during the early Sixties 
called them "communistic" and claimed 
they were inciting racial hatred and 
social conflict. Viewing our voter- 
registration team from this perspective, 
the citizens of Greenville were under- 
standably disturbed by our presence and 
would like to have silenced us. But they 
were law-abiding folk in this part of the 
state and they let us be. Whatever 
qualms 1 have subsequently had about 
thrusting my values on people who were 
hardly receptive to them have been partly 
assuaged by the belief that disturbing a 
community's equilibrium is sometimes 
unavoidable in order to rightly challenge 
a prevailing, unjust consensus. (I might 
add that a good many other people during 
this time made the case for racial 
equality better than I; nonetheless, it 
was necessary for a combination of 
arguments to be made.) 

The minority's freedom to protest under 
circumstances where the majority is 
openly hostile is therefore crucial for 
our democracy and is guaranteed by the 
speech-protective interpretations of the 
First Amendment. Without the support of 
the law of the land, I do not think I 
would have escaped as I did — unharmed — 
on that mild October afternoon, nor would 
the subsequent triumph of the black civil 
rights movement in 1964-1965 have been 

Ironically, the early efforts to advocate 
black rights in the midst of "enemy 
territory" were guarded by the same 
constitutional liberties now being evoked 
in defense of a band of Nazi racists who 
are in many ways similar to the redneck 
bigots encountered years ago In 
Mississippi. With regard to the 
impending Nazi march through Skokie, 
Illinois — planned as a celebration of 
Hitler's birthday, April 20 — the courts 
so far have come down most emphatically 
on the side of minority rights. A 
A recent decision by U.S. District Judge 
Bernard M. Decker upholding the right of 
a few dozen Nazis to demonstrate in, and 
thus to antagonize, a predominantly 
Jewish neighborhood reflected both sides 
of the question. Judge Decker registered 
his distaste of the Nazis: "In resolving 
this case in favor of the plaintiffs 
(the Nazi Party) , the court is acutely 
aware of the very grave dangers posed by 
public dissemination of doctrines of 
racial and religious hatred." But his 
conclusion recorded a libertarian 
judgement: "Freedom of thought carries 
with it the freedom to speak freely and 
to publicly assemble to express one's 
thought. " 

The issue here is certainly not simple. 
Legally speaking, it is a question of 
weighing potential harm to the public 
stability from "opinions ... we loathe 
and believe fraught with death" over 
against the danger of subverting vital 

constitutional freedoms. Ever since the 
passage of the Espionage Act in 1917 in 
the heat of World War I, this issue of 
order versus freedom has been argued back 
and forth in legal and academic circles. 
Nearly all judges and scholars have tried 
to establish a fair delimitation of the 
discrete areas properly belonging to 
community welfare and individual 
expression. The problem always is: 
where to draw the line? He do have some 
examples from the past, but the most 
definitive decision to date has been the 
1969 Supreme Court declaration in 
Brand enburg v. Ohio . As Professor Gerald 
Gun t her of the Stanford University Law 
School has pointed out, the Brandenburg 
decision upheld and, in fact, established 
two mutually supportive speech-protective 
doctrines: a) speech which does not 
directly advocate illegal action is 
permissible; b) to be proscribed by law, 
speech inciting illegal action also has 
to be put forward in such a manner and 
under such circumstances Chat it will 
obviously and immediately cause an unlaw- 
ful disturbance of the peace and good 
order. In the words of the Supreme Court: 

The Constitutional guarantees of free 
speech and free press do not permit a 
State to forbid or proscribe advocacy 
of the use of force or law violation 
except where such advocacy is directed 
to inciting or producing imminent 
lawless action and is likely to incite 
or produce such action. 

This is the. law upon which Judge Decker's 
decision in the Skokie case was most 
likely based. The judge has evidently 
concluded that the overt laceration of 
Jewish people's psychological wounds by a 
group of perverted fanatics is not an 
incitement to law breaking, even under 
potentially volatile circumstances. Thus, 
he has set aside local ordinances forbid- 
ding the march because they were adjudged 
to be violations of the First Amendment. 
According to the decision, the Nazi demon- 
stration does not break the law, but any 
attempt to prevent or disrupt such 
activity, however reprehensible, does. 
When the date for the march arrives, one 
can only hope that Judge Decker's discern- 
ment of the situation's potentialities has 

been accurate and his judgment correspond- 
ingly valid in terms of First Amendment 
guarantees measured against the Skokie 
community's welfare. 

Despite our obvious misgiving about the 
defense of advocacy which embraces 
political obscenities, without broad 
constitutional speech protection the 
advancement of good and just causes in 
the face of a hostile majority is also 
imperiled. We cannot, it seems, have it 
both ways. Often, we must risk one thing 
to save something else. Thus, the legal 
determinations may be correct in the 
Skokie case when they tell us not to 
compromise constitutional liberties, even 
to justifiably accommodate an outraged 
community. Certainly, the civil rights 
activity fifteen years ago would have 
been abruptly cut short if local control 
had been allowed to determine who could 
or could not speak freely. Yet, the 
obvious immorality of the impending Nazi 
demonstration hurts and outrages us. It 
must be the better part of absurdity that 
a celebration of the Holocaust will moat 
likely proceed under protection of the 
law, while a harmless procession of nude 
figures down the same streets might very 
well be disallowed on the grounds of 
indecent exposure. Nonetheless, what has 
to be discerned in every case involving 
free speech is the real threat to our 
democratic values and republican system. 
Is it the demonstration of a few dozen 
recognized lunatics assembled for a 
bizarre tribute to Che Hitlerian devil? 
Or is it Che understandable and well 
intentioned desire Co outflank the 
Constitution as a speech-protective 
document in order to silence them? For 
those impaled on the horns of this 
dilemma, the concluding words in Judge 
Decker's decision may provide some small 
consolation: "The ability of the American 
society to tolerate the advocacy even of 
the hateful doctrine espoused by the 
plaintiffs without abandoning its 
commitment to free speech and assembly is 
perhaps the best protection we have 
against the establishment of any Nazi- 
type regime in the country." Advocates 
of political terror in American society, 
if given enough rope, have a pretty good 
record of hanging themselves. 


by Ellen Schlff 

"During the Second World War, Sol 
Goldstein lived in Lithuania, where Nazis 
threw his mother down a well with 50 
other women and buried them alive in 
gravel. Today he lives in Skokie, 
Illinois, where on April 20 Nazis wearing 
brown shirts and swastikas will 
demonstrate to celebrate Hitler's 
birthday." So George F. Will began a 
recent article entitled "Nazis and the 
First Amendment," 

Since sixty percent of Skokie's 70,000 
residents are Jews, and 7,000 oi these 
are death camp survivors, this latest 
manifestation of a Nationalist Socialist 
group is, characteristically, neither 
devious nor ambiguous. It would be 
reassuring to find evidence of the same 
kind of clear thinking and steadfastness 
to professed goals on the part of those 
ultralibe.rals who are waging a successful 
campaign In behalf of the Nazis' 
constitutional right to public displays 
like the one planned for Skokie, 

The prerogative of any group Lo 
disseminate its doctrine is, of course, 
guaranteed by the First Amendment. The 
sense of that amendment is to ensure a 
society which draws its strength from the 
free exchange of conflicting ideas. A 
corollary of the position that all ideas 
are welcome contenders in a democratic 
forum is the affirmation that any of 
these Ideas has the right to prevail. 
Are the supporters of the Nazis' franchise 
to free speech prepared to accept the 
possibility of Nazi predominance? 

Those who defend the National Socialists' 
title to have their say because they feel 
secure that the Nazi position is too 
extreme to gain enough adherents to pose 
any threat to this country cannot have 
been paying attention to history. 
"Hitler," Lucy Dawidowicz reminds us, 
"came to power legally, exploiting the 
letter of the law to subvert the law. 
Sensible people were sure that Hitler 

could not last long, that decency, 
rationality, and political order would — 
must — reassert themselves." For what 
reason should we find the United States 
different, or impervious? 

The First Amendment has worked so well 
for so long in safeguarding the general 
welfare that it might seem reasonable to 
expect it to be reliable in exposing the 
Nazis for what they are. Such a 
hypothesis is based on the assumption 
that the Nazis are no different from any 
other zealous faction bent on advancing 
its cause. Nothing could be further from 
the truth. 

Supporters of unrestricted free speech 
rightly point out that the rivalry of 
ideas guaranteed by the First Amendment 
is certain to disturb, antagonize and 
offend people. Bruised intellects and 
defeated ideals notwithstanding, the 
winner is supposed to be the general 
welfare. The civil rights movement 
provides a ready example. Here a minority 
of citizens exercised their First 
Amendment title to challenge a system 
which denied the constitutional rights of 
other citizens to various liberties, 
personal freedoms and individual dignity. 
It is next to impossible to draw a 
parallel between the goals of the civil 
rights crusaders and those of the 
American Nazi Party, The Nazis do not 
profess the slightest interest in the 
moral application of the law of the land 
which, ironically, is currently being 
invoked to protect them. They would 
destroy that law. Nor are they, at least 
at the moment, concerned with reforming 
public opinion. Were that their goal, 
they would stage their demonstration in 
Washington or Berkeley or in Harvard 
Square . 

The Skokie demonstration is naked 
terrorism. It flaunts the right of the 
bestial to torment victims. It feeds the 
appetites oi onlookers who revel in 


bigotry they dare not proclaim quite so 
blatantly. How does the granting of 
constitutional protection for harassers 
to plague hapless citizens conform to the 
"right of the people peaceably to 
assemble" explicit in the First Amendment, 
or to the morality and general welfare 
implicit in it? 

In the conflict now swirling about the 
Skokie issue, the difference between the 
Nazis and other extremists who breed 
hatred and foment persecution has been all 
too easily glossed over. For example, 
when President Carter was asked at his 
January 30 press conference if he planned 
to interfere at Skokie, he replied 
laconically, "There's no need to. We 
have this same sort of situation with the 
Ku Klux Klan," Such an equation is 
astonishingly naive. Nazism has richly 
earned the right to be regarded as unique. 
The Holocaust is an incommensurable 
example of radical evil. To compare Nazis 
to other fanatics is to underestimate the 
former in a most dangerous manner. 

The threat posed by the Nazis at Skokie 
far exceeds a nightmare for American and 
world Jewry, Perhaps the most 
consequential aspect of Skokie is the 
challenge it hurls at public awareness. 
Can we have forgotten that the Nazi 
leaders brought to trial at Nuremberg 
were charged, not with anti-Semitic 
persecution, but with transgressions of 
international law and with crimes against 
humanity? Less than half of the more 
than 12 million exterminated by the Nazis 
were Jews. The others were Catholics, 
Protestants, liberals, communists, 
gypsies — people of any stripe who were 
considered dispensable. 

The American Civil Liberties Union, 
without whose support the Skokie 
demonstration could not materialize, and 
liberals who share the Union's views 
might do well to borrow a Nazi procedure 
and to think their position through to 
its logical conclusion. Those who would 
encourage, or even tolerate, propagation 
of Nazi ideology in the United States had 
best be prepared to take their chances in 
a country which celebrates Hitler's 
birthday instead of the Fourth of July. 

by Thomas A. Mulkeen 

Things thought out too long can 
be no longer thought, for beauty 
dies of beauty, worth of worth, 
and ancient lineaments are 
blotted out, irrational streams 
of blood are staining Earth. 

W. B. Yeats 

I sometimes look at my little grand- 
daughter Bernardine and I think, well 
I sometimes think, if she'll ever 
understand? My son-in-law Bernard 
Watt was killed on Butler Street on 
February 5, killed by British 
soldiers. Bernardine' s the daughter 
he has never seen. And my son 
Joe, Jr., oh Lord, killed by soldiers 
too. . . . 

Joe Parker — recently released 
from an internment camp in 
Northern Ireland 

British leaders historically have seen 
Ireland as a country which might threaten 
England's safety were it allowed the 
freedom to fall into unfriendly hands. 
To secure the island, the British rooted 
an alien Protestant society in Ulster and 
forced the native Celtic population to 
settle in the sparse and barren lands of 
western Ireland. During the seven hundred 
years of British rule most of Ireland's 
traditional Celtic life was crushed, and 
whole generations of Catholics fought for 
survival against the harshness of the 
land and the oppression of the English. 

The plantation of Ulster segregated a 
predominantly Protestant industrial 
northeast from an overwhelmingly rural 
Catholic south. {The words "Protestant" 
and "Catholic" are used throughout this 
essay in the sense in which they are used 
and understood in Northern Ireland, 
roughly to characterize the majority and 
minority communities there.) As a result, 
the two parts of Ireland evolved in 


different cultural and religious 
directions. Gladstone's alliance with 
Parnell and his introduction of home rule 
legislation in 1886 and 1893 was bitterly 
opposed in northern Ireland. The vast 
majority of Protestants in the north 
believed that self-government in a united 
Ireland, in which they would always be a 
minority, would menace their religion, 
way of life, and economic interests. 
When the third home rule bill was 
introduced in 1912 its opponents In Ulster 
were organized for resistance. A 
volunteer force was raised for political 
and military service, 

a provisional government was formed, and 
a consignment of arms was brought over 
from Germany. Only the outbreak of World 
Bar I prevented civil war in Ireland. 

Four times in the last century of rule 
from London, Ireland has been the scene of 
rebellions by nationalists seeking to 
liberate the island from British 
domination. Militant Irish nationalists 
rejected home rule and the leadership of 
the Irish parliamentary party. During 
World War I they changed the political 
situation in Ireland. In the 1916 Rising 
and the years of strife that followed 
modern Ireland was born. The Anglo-Irish 
treaty of 1921 partitioned the country. 
The twenty-six southern counties were, 
granted their independence, while Northern 
Ireland was formed to save the strategic 
British position in Ireland. Under 
partition Protestants were given the 
largest area they could control, the six 
northeast counties. Today, after ten 
years of renewed violence, it is evident 
that partition shelved but did not solve 
Britain's "Irish Problem." The end of 
partition became the exclusive aim of 
Irish foreign policy, while a whole 
generation of Irish citizens grew up amid 
the "myths" of the Easter Rising. There 
was always the constant reminder that the 
object for which the men of 1916 
sacrificed their lives, a free and united 
Ireland, had still not been achieved. 

The settlement of 1921 drew the border in 
such a way as to include within Northern 
Ireland a substantial Catholic minority 
whose members became, and remained, an 
oppressed people under an unsympathetic 

government. For fifty years the 
Protestant Unionist Party held absolute 
power. Until the end its record was 
marked by extreme prejudice against Roman 
Catholics. There was discrimination in 
jobs and housing. Catholics were 
interned without trial and abused by the 
Protestant-controlled police. The belief 
of Protestants that the Catholic minority 
was a threat to the whole settlement of 
1921 gave them a cohesiveness that enabled 
their leaders to retain power through a 
system of political and economic 
injustice. The British government, 
mindful of its strategic interest, left 
Northern Ireland to its own devices. 

After almost fifty years, this unsuper- 
vised ascendancy was challenged by the 
Catholic civil rights movement and the 
resurgence of the I.R.A. Late in the 
1960s the civil rights movement attempted 
to win equal rights for Catholics through 
peaceful demonstration. The Protestant 
response was brutal and violent. Marches 
were interrupted and Catholics were beaten 
while the police stood by. Obliged to 
pay attention again, the British tried to 
introduce gradual reforms through their 
Protestant agent, the Northern government. 
They failed. The result was sectarian 
rioting. In August 1969 British troops 
intervened in Belfast and Derry to 
separate the two communities. A further 
series of reforms imposed from England 
again failed to give Catholics a real 
share in power or status. As the promised 
reforms fell short and the violence 
mounted, the British Army became the 
guardian of the existing Protestant 
political structure. The long-dormant 
Irish Republican Army saw its chance and 
reappeared. A brutal urban guerrilla war 
between the I.R.A. and the British Army 
was the result. Innocent men, women, and 
children were killed, the victims of 
stray bullets and vicious bombs. The 
internment of Catholics without trial and 
the torture of I.R.A. suspects served to 
increase the violence and alienate the 
whole minority community. 

On a Sunday afternoon in January 1972 
thirteen civilians were shot to death by 
British troops during a civil rights 
march. "Bloody Sunday" confronted British 

ministers with the real implications of 
their policy in Northern Ireland. Young 
soldiers trained to be brutal cannot 
always act with restraint. It finally 
became obvious to the British that a fresh 
beginning had to be made. That March, 
Prime Minister Edward Heath rose in the 
House of Commons to announce that he had 
suspended local government in Northern 
Ireland. He effectively declared 
unsupervised British rule in Ulster a 
failure and announced that henceforth 
Britain would exercise complete political 
control over the province. Heath also 
proclaimed that Catholics were to have an 
active, permanent, and guaranteed role in 
the life and public affairs of Northern 
Ireland . 

Given the history of Northern Ireland, 
London's assumption of direct rule over 
the scarred and bloody province merely 
promised that more British lives and money 
would be spent there with little assurance 
of peace. Every attempt to find a power- 
sharing formula has been preceded by a 
campaign of assassination, bloodshed, and 
violence that has forced the people of 
both communities to live in an 
intensifying cycle of mutual fear and 
terror. Extremists from both communities 
have demonstrated an immense power to 
destroy political solutions and to inhibit 
cooperation between moderate Catholic and 
Protestant leaders. Militant Protestants, 
prompted by the fear that power-sharing 
was the first step toward eventual union 
with the Republic, have been openly 
hostile to British policy. Like the 
I.R.A. they are armed and openly engaged 
in a campaign of violence and terror. In 
the spring of 1974 they organized a 
general strike which crippled the economy 
of Northern Ireland. The I.R.A. in turn 
has declared war on the British initiative 
and launched a bloody campaign of violence 
and terror. Six years after the British 
announced their new initiative — and 
notwithstanding the award of the Nobel 
Peace Prize to two Irish women in 1977 — 
peace seems as far off as ever. 

Perhaps there is no hope of a solution. 
So many sad and tragic events in the 
course of four centuries have driven 
discord so deep into the body politic that 

accommodation may prove impossible. For 
in Northern Ireland there seems to be no 
future — "only the past happening over and 
over again." 

This is the first of two articles. 
The concluding installment will review 
the evolution of the attitude of the 
government of the Republic of Ireland 
toward Northern Ireland, 


Ten years ago a black Texan and a white 
northerner stood among the pensive 
thousands who waited for Martin Luther 
King's body to be brought from the 
Ebenezer Baptist Church, They spoke. 

Black: Mind if I ask you why you came to 

White: Well, because I think that Martin 
Luther King was the greatest man in the 
country — at least, I can't think of a 
better one — and I had to come here to do 
the grief. Why'd you come? 

Black: Same reason. 

White: Who's going to take his place? 

Black: Nobody. There just isn't anybody. 
It'll take years to grow another one. 

— CAM 


W. Anthony Gengarelly, Assistant Professor 
of History, is writing a book on the 
post-World War I Red Scare. 

Ellen Schiff, Professor of French and 
Comparative Literature, has particular 
interests in contemporary drama and ethnic 

Charles A. Mclsaac is Director of Library 
Services . 

Thomas A. Mulkeen, Professor of Education, 
did his doctoral work in Irish history.